Fifth & Mission

The flagship news podcast of the San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco City Hall columnist Heather Knight and managing editor Demian Bulwa discuss the biggest stories of the day with Chronicle journalists and newsmakers from around the Bay Area. | Get full digital access to the Chronicle:

Eviction Crisis: David Chiu’s Proposal
Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco has a plan to stem the wave of evictions expected to hit California in September, but just over two weeks to get it through the Legislature. He's also concerned about the severely backed-up unemployment office.
22 min
Vaccine Trials Launch in the Bay Area
Developers of two of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates are seeking volunteers in San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Clara County. Health reporter Erin Allday talks about how close we are to a real vaccine.
17 min
All Masks Are Not the Same
Covering your face is good, but new research suggests that how you do it is important. Many help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but some are not as effective as others. Reporter Aidin Vaziri has the details.
12 min
Why Kamala Harris is Joe Biden's Pick
The former San Francisco DA and California attorney general is in position to make history. Political reporters Tal Kopan and Joe Garofoli break down how her past will factor into the campaign ahead.
19 min
Why California's Coronavirus Chief Quit
Health reporter Erin Allday breaks talks about a changing of the guard in Sacramento, where Dr. Sonia Angell has suddenly resigned as the state's top public health officer.
14 min
Is More Screen-Time Affecting Our Brains?
We’re working, going to school, exercising, socializing and reading on screens. Chronicle reporter Sam Whiting interviewed a Stanford professor who runs a screen use lab about the phenomena and what it’s doing to our brains and social lives.
11 min
Get Ready For Socially Distant Fire Evacuations
California is entering its worst months for wildfires, and the danger is only exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. What do Bay Area residents need to know? Reporter J.D. Morris has the answers.
21 min
Tech Exodus From San Francisco
Now that their companies are allowing them to work remotely for the duration, tech workers are fleeing high-priced San Francisco. What does that mean for the city's future as an internationally important tech center?
28 min
What's Wrong With Herd Immunity
Why can't we defeat coronavirus by allowing to infect the majority of the population? Reporter Erin Allday breaks down the science, and how it would perpetuate racial disparities.
18 min
Do Face Shields Work?
Just as we got used to wearing masks, a new COVID-19 accessory has cropped up: face shields. Reporter Aidin Vaziri talks about whether they work, and about how a data glitch might be causing an undercounting of cases around California.
11 min
Eviction Catastrophe Is Looming
One in seven Californians can't make their rent, and a freeze on state courts processing evictions is about to end. Reporter Alexei Koseff describes two different proposals to keep people in their homes.
16 min
How Restaurants Are Dealing With Unsavory Times
The coronavirus pandemic is battering restaurants like few other industries. Some are moving outdoors and switching menus, others are laying off staff or closing altogether. Justin Phillips goes inside the industry and its uncertain future.
17 min
The Attorney Who Gives Police Fits
John Burris' clients have included Rodney King and the family of Oscar Grant. He talks about George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police movements, and police brutality cases in Oakland and Vallejo.
37 min
Calls to Defund the Police Are Shaping Oakland ...
Five Oakland City Council seats are up for grabs in November, and the election could reshape the city’s political leadership. Reporter Rachel Swan talks about the most closely watched races.
14 min
How Deadly Is COVID-19?
The coronavirus has killed more than 150,000 Americans. But scientists haven't come to a consensus on how likely it is that anyone infected will die. Chronicle health reporter Erin Allday talks about the complex numbers.
18 min
Theo at 7: A Year in a Homeless Kid's Life
Chronicle photographer Gabrielle Lurie and reporter Sarah Ravani talk about the year they spent following Theo, who's been homeless his whole life, and his mom, Naomi, as they navigate the streets, parks and temporary housing sites of Berkeley.
24 min
Inside San Quentin's Death Row Outbreak
Jarvis Masters, a condemned inmate and COVID-19 sufferer speaking from San Quentin death row, talks about what he calls the "incompetence" that led the prison to become California's worst coronavirus hot spot.
22 min
How Will the Arts Survive COVID-19?
The coronavirus pandemic accelerated an ongoing loss of arts infrastructure in the Bay Area — studios, galleries, performance spaces, working artists who can afford the cost of living. But the disruption could also be creating opportunity.
18 min
S.F. Wedding Leads to Outbreak
A wedding was quietly held at a Catholic church in San Francisco, even after church leaders were warned not to break coronavirus rules. Now the bride, the groom and some guests have tested positive.
17 min
California's Child Care Crisis
Amid the state's sputtering reopening efforts, child care providers across are confronting a crushing choice: Stay closed and risk financial ruin, or reopen at a reduced capacity and expose children and staff to the coronavirus.
18 min
Pandemic Pods: Solution or Problem?
Faced with the prospect of having to again stick their kids in front of screens for distance learning, some parents of means are cobbling together an alternative. Education reporter Jill Tucker talks about the implications for everyone.
17 min
Will Coronavirus Baseball Work?
The Giants and A’s are starting their seasons under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beat writers Henry Schulman and Susan Slusser talk about what to expect. Plus: Giants manager Gabe Kapler kneels for the national anthem.
25 min
Death of a Nurse in Oakland
Colleagues and co-workers of Janine Paiste-Ponder, who died of COVID-19, say that while the public hails them as heroes, they feel more like sacrificial lambs as they cry out for hospital execs to do more to protect them.
13 min
Federal Agents in Portland: Is Oakland Next?
As images of Homeland Security agents in camouflage attacking peaceful protesters in Portland go viral, President Trump has threatened to send federal forces to the Bay Area. Political reporter Joe Garofoli on the reaction.
16 min
Universal Basic Income: Can It Work?
The idea of putting, say, $1,000 a month in the hands of every American is gaining currency amid the economic shocks of the pandemic. Reporter Jason Fagone talks about how UBI can attack inequality on the personal and civic levels.
26 min
Should Wineries Be Open?
People are drinking more, which is a boon for California wineries, but the industry's also struggling with shutdown orders. Wine critic Esther Mobley talks about the confusion at tasting rooms and the efforts to protect vineyard workers.
15 min
Defund the Police: Berkeley Tries It
Pressed by the killing of George Floyd and demonstrations for racial justice, Berkeley is promising big changes designed to reduce bias. But as reporter Brett Simpson and columnist Otis Taylor Jr. explain, the real work begins now.
21 min
San Francisco Zoo Is Back in Business
Director Tanya Peterson had to feed 2,000 animals with no ticket revenue coming in since March because of the coronavirus shutdown. She's delighted the zoo is open again, and she says she can tell the animals are too.
21 min
Caltrain Could Be Derailed
The Peninsula rail system has lost 95% of its ridership, and under the strange governance system that rules it, two San Francisco supervisors were able to kill a sales tax measure to save it. Caltrain says it may have to shut down.
17 min
California's New Shutdown
Gov. Newsom has demanded that a host of activities come to a halt as coronavirus cases surge around the state. Health reporter Erin Allday explains why California has taken a U-turn in its reopening plans and what’s likely to come next.
19 min
Reopening Schools: Confusion and Frustration
Getting kids back to school is tops on President Trump's agenda, but California districts are increasingly opting for distance learning. Education reporter Jill Tucker talks about the latest in a rapidly changing situation.
24 min
San Francisco As a Biking and Walking Utopia
Bicyclists, pedestrians and public transit fans have long dreamed of major changes to the unsafe streets of San Francisco. In The Throughline, Peter Hartlaub writes about how the COVID-19 pandemic could finally those changes a reality.
23 min
Coronavirus Surges on College Campuses
It's a bad trend at UC Berkeley and elsewhere: An outbreak of coronavirus cases tied to fraternity parties. The surge is threatening colleges' plans to reopen for the fall. Reporter Ron Kroichick talks about what campuses will look like.
15 min
Baseball Season Is Looking Doubtful
Sports columnist Ann Killion says that given the rough start to training camp, she's skeptical MLB will be able to launch its season in two weeks, or keep it going for 60 games if so. Plus: New activism among athletes, and cuts at Stanford.
20 min
Muni's Breakdown
San Francisco's love-it-or-hate it transit system is in major trouble as revenue has plunged during the pandemic. The city will probably lose 40 of its 68 bus lines permanently — and don't expect to ride the cable cars until there's a vaccine.
24 min
San Francisco Without its Nightlife
Heklina, one of the city’s best-known drag queens, talks about how bars and nightclubs can eventually reopen safely and why she’s angry bar owners in other parts of the state and country are acting so irresponsibly.
18 min
SF Homeless Project Takes on COVID-19
Will coronavirus worsen homelessness or provide an opportunity to get people housed? Reporter Kevin Fagan and host Demian Bulwa kick off the SF Homeless Project, a weeklong Chronicle special report.
25 min
40 Years in the Wilderness With Tom Stienstra
The Chronicle's outdoors columnist talks about how he landed his plum job after having an epiphany while covering a Raiders-Packers game, and he tells campfire tales about the wildest adventures in his storied career.
24 min
Black Lives Matter Protests: What Comes Next?
Sheryl Davis, executive director of San Francisco's Human Rights Commission, has been surveying people of color to ask what they want to see happen next when it comes to police reform and racial justice.
25 min
Health Officers Facing Threats, Intimidation
Given great power during the coronavirus pandemic, local public health officers are dealing with great scrutiny — and sometimes intimidation and threats. Some have quit. Staff writer Carolyn Said on what's behind the anger.
13 min
Coronavirus Spike: How Worried Should You Be?
Rising COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area and around the country are forcing communities to pause, and in some cases backtrack, on reopening plans. Health reporter Erin Allday on what's behind the surge.
14 min
Coronavirus Means Bad Times for Goodwill
Goodwill San Francisco CEO William Rogers describes closing all shops and furloughing most employees as the nonprofit was too big to qualify for federal help. Plus: People cleaning up during shutdown have flooded donation drop-offs.
23 min
Should You Fly During the Pandemic?
Features editor Sarah Feldberg discusses how airlines are responding and what travelers need to know to be safe from coronavirus if they have to board a plane, or if they want to for pleasure travel.
15 min
California's Alarming COVID-19 Spike
More than 12,000 residents tested positive for the coronavirus in just two days this week, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to caution Californians to continue being careful or risk renewed shutdown orders. Reporter Peter Fimrite explains.
8 min
COVID-19 Terror at San Quentin
State prison officials dealt with a coronavirus outbreak at Chino State Prison by transferring untested inmates to San Quentin, which the virus is now ripping through. Reporters Megan Cassidy and Jason Fagone have details.
17 min
San Francisco's Toppled Statues
From the removal of Christopher Columbus outside Coit Tower to the toppling of Father Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key and Ulysses S. Grant in Golden Gate Park, the city's not-so-progressive statues are sparking controversy.
18 min
New From The Chronicle: Extra Spicy
Chronicle food writers Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips are hosts of The Chronicle's new food and culture podcast, Extra Spicy. They talk with Heather Knight about why they're launching a food podcast in these troubled times, and they give a sneak peak into what listeners can expect. | Get full Chronicle access:
22 min
An Announcement: Goodbye Audrey, Hello Demian
Chronicle Editor in Chief and Fifth & Mission co-host Audrey Cooper says farewell as she heads off for her new job as editor in chief at WNYC in New York. She and co-host Heather Knight welcome Demian Bulwa back to the show. He preceded Heather behind the Fifth & Mission mic, and now he'll succeed Audrey. | Get full Chronicle access:
3 min
Coronavirus Survivors Tell Their Stories
Reporters Peter Hartlaub and Annie Vainshtein play excerpts from and talk about their project Surviving the Virus, which features interviews with recovered COVID-19 patients. Plus: Survivor Rafael Arias reads from his diary.
20 min
Supreme Court Victory for Dreamers
Reporter Tatiana Sanchez helps unpack Thursday's SCOTUS ruling that blocks the Trump administration's attempt to dismantle DACA, dealing a major blow to the president.
9 min
The Politics of Policing
As the furor grows over police brutality directed at black and brown people, the political power of police unions is being questioned. Joe Garofoli talks about how the unions might react to the upcoming election season. | Get full Chronicle access:
19 min
The Coronavirus Rent Drop
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused upheaval in the housing market, with home sales dropping, prices sinking and rents falling as tenants flee the Bay Area. JK Dineen joins to discuss the deals for renters and the lessons we should learn from past recessions when it comes to housing construction.
22 min
After the Ruling, What Now for Gay Civil Rights?
This Pride Month was made sweeter with a Supreme Court decision forbidding employment discrimination based on gender or sexual identity. Reporter Ryan Kost talks about what that surprising ruling means in the fight for LGBTQ rights.
21 min
Why the SFPD Chief Is OK With "Defund the Police"
Chief William Scott says he feels conflicted as a black man watching national protests against police brutality. He supports calls for San Francisco's department to be defunded and for officers' responsibilities to be narrowed.
25 min
Police Reform: Promises Made, Often Broken
After SFPD officers fatally shot Mario Woods in 2015, authorities promised reforms. But while use-of-force incidents are down overall, police still disproportionately use violence against black people and Latinos.
14 min
Are We Reopening Too Quickly?
Coronavirus cases are increasing across the state, but counties are pushing forward with reopening plans. Is that good for public safety? Health reporter Erin Allday delves into the latest case numbers and what they mean. | Get full Chronicle access:
19 min
Black Voices: Why I Protest
Chronicle photojournalist Yalonda M. "Yoshi" James, tired of the media's focus on looting and vandalism, turned her camera on black people marching, holding signs and demanding change and asked them, "Why are you protesting?"
20 min
Where Does Black Lives Matter Go From Here?
Have the George Floyd protests launched a real change in American life, or will the widespread white support fade over time? Joe Garofoli talks about how white allies can stay in the fight, and whether "Defund the Police" can work.
17 min
The Dos and Don’ts of Reopening
Counties around the state are slowly reopening for business and loosening the shelter-in-place restrictions in place since March. But what will best practices be? Can you have a dinner party? What about a child play date?
17 min
Brianna Noble: The Black Lives Matter Rider
Tony Bravo talks to the 25-year-old East Bay native who went viral by riding her horse, Dapper Dan, to a George Floyd protest last week in Oakland. She discusses bringing people of color like herself into the predominantly white "horse world."
20 min
School's Out: Now What?
With this very strange school term wrapping up, will students be woefully behind? Reporter Jill Tucker has a reassuring message for stressed-out parents: The kids will be all right.
24 min
A Reform Plan for the SFPD
Sparked by the national protests over the death of George Floyd, San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton wants to ban the police department from hiring any officer who engaged in misconduct in a previous job. | Get Full Chronicle coverage:
18 min
Fighting for Gun Safety During COVID-19
Shannon Watts, a new resident of the East Bay, founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America after the Sandy Hook school shooting. She's worried about the panic buying of guns during the coronavirus pandemic, but confident of big election wins in November.
20 min
The Protests Are Different This Time
Chronicle East Bay columnist Otis Taylor Jr. joins Audrey Cooper to talk about how the Bay Area is handling the unrest that's followed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, and why the demonstrations feel different.
24 min
San Francisco's "$1.7 Billion Dollar Challenge"
Controller Ben Rosenfield describes what it's like to go from balancing the books of an economic powerhouse — the City and County of San Francisco — to facing down a $1.7 billion budget gap almost overnight.
20 min
San Francisco's Grand Reopening
Mayor London Breed laid out when residents can browse in stores, eat in restaurants and work out at gyms. Reporter Dominic Fracassa delves into the details and describes the new, stricter face-covering requirements.
16 min
BART on the Ropes
Riders have peeled away and sales tax projections are abysmal because of the coronavirus crisis. Some officials want to close stations. BART has a budget to survive for one year. What happens after that is a big question mark.
19 min
Why Are COVID-19 Cases on the Rise?
Diagnoses of coronavirus are increasing in some Bay Area counties. Notably, Alameda County is now the hardest hit in the region. What’s happening here? Health writer Erin Allday explains the latest theories.
18 min
Inside a Homeless Hotel in San Francisco
Supervisor Matt Haney has been working at a hotel for homeless people to shelter in place during the coronavirus pandemic. He tells Heather Knight it's convinced him more people on the streets need to be moved into vacant rooms.
33 min
COVID-19 Devastates the Tenderloin
Ten weeks into shelter-in-place, the San Francisco neighborhood remains crowded with tents, and people can't maintain social distance. Sam Dennison of the anti-poverty nonprofit Faithful Fools lays out what City Hall should be doing to help.
28 min
Where and How to Go Outdoors
Slowly but surely, governments are reopening parks, preserves, beaches and lakes. Outdoors writer Tom Stienstra is tracking it all, and he talks about the dos and don’ts of venturing outside this Memorial Day weekend and beyond.
22 min
The Mystery of the Missing PPE
A shortage of masks, gowns and other medical-grade equipment has been a major issue in the coronavirus pandemic. It's still happening, and reporter Dominic Fracassa says that hospitals and county officials don't want to talk about it.
21 min
How to Smile With a Mask On
You're never fully dressed without a smile, but with face masks mandatory, no one can tell you're smiling. Reporter Annie Vainshtein talks about the importance of smiles in American culture and what might replace them.
19 min
Songs of the Coronavirus Shutdown
Professional musicians around the Bay Area are entertaining and consoling their neighbors with public performances during shelter-in-place. Heather Knight talks to Page Street cellist Saul Richmond-Rakerd about why music is so comforting.
12 min
I'm Over 65 But Who Are you Calling Elderly?
Age is a factor in coronavirus risk, but many Americans over 65 are pushing back on sometimes condescending advice to isolate — often from their own adult children. Ryan Kost talks about it with his favorite older American: his mom.
20 min
Examining COVID-19 Myths
Does eating garlic prevent the coronavirus? Can you test whether you have it by holding your breath for 10 seconds? Chronicle reporter Sam Whiting tells you if any of the wild things you might have heard are true.
19 min
Coronavirus Detectives: Contact Tracers
They'll be a key part of gaining control of the spread of coronavirus, but most health departments don’t have nearly enough people to track the outbreaks. Aidin Vaziri discusses the effort to train tens of thousands.
18 min
California Budget: Pay Cuts, Furloughs and Tax ...
Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a way to close a $54 billion hole in the state budget, and none of it is going to make anyone happy. Alexei Koseff breaks down the governor’s proposals and how it will affect Californians.
23 min
Coronavirus and the Flu: A Potential Disaster
Medical experts are predicting a relatively calm summer before a big uptick in COVID-19 cases in the fall. Health reporter Erin Allday describes why that, coupled with the regular flu season, has hospitals worried.
18 min
Budget Ideas: Help for Renters? Tax Hikes?
The hole in California's budget is massive — tens of billions of dollars. But officials say they need extra money to help renters and others suffering under the shelter-in-place orders. Alexei Koseff explains the latest proposals.
21 min
A San Francisco Doctor at the COVID-19 Epicenter
Dr. Maya Kotas tells the Chronicle's Sarah Feldberg about the month she and a team of fellow UCSF health care workers just spent at a New York City hospital that was understaffed and overwhelmed by a tsunami of disease.
21 min
Elon Musk’s Strange Gamble
Chronicle business editor Owen Thomas, who's been covering Elon Musk since the '90s, joins Heather Knight to talk about the Tesla CEO's huge ego and whether his fight with Alameda County could hurt his customer base.
18 min
Coronavirus and the Future of Sports
America’s favorite pastimes are a clear casualty of the pandemic. But with billions of dollars at stake, teams and players are eager to get back to work. Ann Killion discusses the implications of reopening pro and college sports.
24 min
Suing to Save the Tenderloin
Rhiannon Bailard, executive director of operations for Hastings Law School in San Francisco, discusses the dire conditions in the Tenderloin that prompted the school to team with residents and business owners to sue the city.
23 min
Latinos’ Coronavirus Burden
Data analyzed by The Chronicle shows just how hard COVID-19 has hit communities of color — particularly Latinos and black people. Reporter Joaquin Palomino explains the data.
18 min
Why the Bay Area Can't Open Up Yet
Dr. Mark Shapiro, a hospitalist at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and the host of the podcast Explore the Space, explains why it's important to continue sheltering in place despite the region's coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations being lower than most of the rest of the country.
25 min
Layoff Tracker: 92,000 and Counting
Business reporter Roland Li talks about the Chronicle's new tool, a constantly updated tally of Bay Area workers who've lost their jobs as the coronavirus crisis has hammered the economy.
21 min
What It's Like to Be a Nurse in the Crisis
On National Nurses Day, several Bay Area nurses talk about how the coronavirus crisis has affected their lives and their work — from delivering babies to caring for the elderly in nursing homes.
18 min
Baby Steps Toward Reopening
Gov. Gavin Newsom announces some changes to how businesses may operate under coronavirus shelter-in-place orders — but they won’t supersede the Bay Area’s more stringent limitations. Alexei Koseff explains.
19 min
New Shelter-in-Place Rules: What’s Allowed?
It's complicated. Reporter Dominic Fracassa explains where you can go, what you can do — and, critically, how health officials will know if we are successfully staving off a coronavirus resurgence.
26 min
Making Homeless Tent Camps Safe
San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman has proposed building safe sleeping sites for unhoused people on city parking lots and in schools and parks to keep people safer during the coronavirus pandemic.
19 min
How Coronavirus Is Affecting the Tenderloin's D...
Del Seymour, a former drug dealer now known as the Mayor of the Tenderloin, talks to Heather Knight about how the neighborhood is coping during shelter-in-place. | Full COVID-19 coverage:
21 min
Will JFK Drive Stay Closed?
San Francisco has finally closed some streets to cars, including roads in Golden Gate Park and McLaren Park. Marta Lindsey of the pedestrian advocacy group Walk SF talks about why she's hopeful the policy will continue after shelter-in-place rules are lifted.
24 min
A Terrifying Day in the Life of an E.R. Nurse
San Francisco General Hospital emergency room nurse Christa Duran prepares for her shifts like a soldier preparing for battle. Reporter Trisha Thadani talks about how Duran and her colleagues confront their own fears as they work.
17 min
Can Your Marriage Survive Shelter in Place?
We've been stuck inside for almost two months. How's your relationship faring? Columnist Tony Bravo surveyed a variety of Bay Area couples, and he has some ideas about how to make marriage work in these unusual times.
19 min
What Victim No. 1 Taught Us
The first known U.S. resident to die of coronavirus died from a ruptured heart. As frightening as it sounds, that information could be useful in learning more about how the virus attacks otherwise healthy people.
16 min
Shelter In Place: A Relaxation and Extension
Six Bay Area counties have extended the shelter-in-place orders, but many public health officials say they intend to ease limits on some low-risk activities. Erin Allday discusses what might be allowed in the coming days.
18 min
The Class of '20 Is Dejected Over Covid-19
No prom. No sports championships. No graduation ceremony. There's never been a senior year quite like this one. Kate Green, a senior at Lowell High in San Francisco, talks about what the coronavirus has meant for her and her classmates.
16 min
You Have to Wear Face Masks: Make Them Fun
Sister Roma, one of San Francisco's most beloved drag queens, talks about judging the "Masks Are Fierce" competition this week and explains how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting queer nightlife.
19 min
What Will Our New Normal Be? A Doctor's View
Dr. Jessica Briggs, an infectious disease fellow at UCSF, discusses what Bay Area life will look like as the coronavirus crisis plays out over the next year — and why she's recruiting recovered COVID-19 patients for her new study.
21 min